Questions About Cancer? 1-800-4-CANCER

Oropharyngeal Cancer Treatment (PDQ®)

Patient Version

Treatment Options by Stage

Stage I and Stage II Oropharyngeal Cancer

Treatment of stage I and stage II oropharyngeal cancer may include the following:

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with stage I oropharyngeal cancer. For more specific results, refine the search by using other search features, such as the location of the trial, the type of treatment, or the name of the drug. Talk with your doctor about clinical trials that may be right for you. General information about clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.

Stage III Oropharyngeal Cancer

Treatment of stage III oropharyngeal cancer may include the following:

  • Surgery followed by radiation therapy. Chemotherapy also may be given at the same time as radiation therapy for patients at high risk for the cancer to come back.
  • Radiation therapy alone for patients who cannot have chemotherapy.
  • Radiation therapy given at the same time as targeted therapy.
  • Chemotherapy given at the same time as radiation therapy.
  • A clinical trial of chemotherapy followed by surgery or radiation therapy.
  • A clinical trial of surgery followed by radiation therapy and targeted therapy.
  • A clinical trial of transoral robotic surgery followed by radiation therapy with or without chemotherapy.

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with stage III oropharyngeal cancer. For more specific results, refine the search by using other search features, such as the location of the trial, the type of treatment, or the name of the drug. Talk with your doctor about clinical trials that may be right for you. General information about clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.

Stage IV (Not Metastatic) Oropharyngeal Cancer

Treatment of stage IV oropharyngeal cancer that has not spread to other parts of the body may include the following:

  • Surgery followed by radiation therapy. Chemotherapy also may be given at the same time as radiation therapy to patients at high risk for the cancer to come back.
  • Radiation therapy given at the same time as chemotherapy.
  • Radiation therapy given at the same time as targeted therapy.
  • Chemotherapy followed by radiation therapy given at the same time as more chemotherapy.
  • Radiation therapy alone for patients who cannot have chemotherapy.
  • A clinical trial of chemotherapy followed by surgery.
  • A clinical trial of transoral robotic surgery.

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with stage IV oropharyngeal cancer. For more specific results, refine the search by using other search features, such as the location of the trial, the type of treatment, or the name of the drug. Talk with your doctor about clinical trials that may be right for you. General information about clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.

Stage IV (Metastatic) and Recurrent Oropharyngeal Cancer

Treatment of stage IV oropharyngeal cancer that has spread to other parts of the body or that has recurred (come back) may include the following:

  • Updated: February 13, 2015